CYNTHIA SCHWENS0N SCHOLARSHIP HISTORY
The Arcata Soroptimist Club started its scholarship program in 1956 under the presidency of Anna Ely. It was originally a Humboldt State College scholarship for a physical education major. It continued to be administered by Humboldt State College and then Humboldt State University. In 1977 during Eunice Upton’s presidency the scholarship criteria and focus changed. The amount designated for this scholarship became $300 and was awarded to a graduate of Arcata or McKinleyville High schools who was attending Humboldt State. The candidates had to have a 3.0 GPA and be at least a sophomore. The candidates were then prioritized by “need” after satisfying the first three criteria. The scholarship continued to grow until, in 1989, it totaled $1,000 awarded in two installments of $500 to an HSU junior or a senior from Arcata or McKinleyville High schools.
In 1991 the scholarship program again underwent a transformation. The Soroptimist Club chose to administer the program internally; the amount was increased to $1,500 payable in three installments of $500; and the recipient was to be a graduating senior from either Arcata or McKinleyville High schools. The student must be entering a junior college, college, university or vocational school. Although a GPA of 3.0 is desired, it does not eliminate a student who can show financial need. While high academics and citizenship qualities are factors, the main emphasis of this scholarship is financial need and a true desire for further education.
In 1994, in honor of our charter president, the scholarship was named the Cynthia Schwenson Scholarship.
Since 1995, this program has been funded entirely by the annual spring scholarship tea. The amount awarded has continually increased over the years. Currently, Soroptimist International of Arcata selects two graduating seniors from Arcata High School who are continuing their education locally or elsewhere. The club also makes a donation to Humboldt State University who selects a student, other than a freshman, who has graduated from a local high school. To date, the club has awarded in excess of $76,000.